Bellini and Mantegna automatic translate
In northern Italy in the middle of the 15th century, the teenager painted pictures that differed markedly from those that were familiar in those days. Andrea Mantegna, the son of a carpenter from Padua with an insatiable appetite for classical art and her own opinion as to how it should become, sought to create a vision of the ancient world that would be felt unprecedentedly real and immediate. He gradually became richer and more famous for his skills and his talent. He painted stunning frescoes with new perspectives on the church walls, from which the figures looked ominously at the viewer.
At the same time, in Venice, another person also sought to exert his influence on artistic traditions. Giovanni Bellini was a rather reserved and calm person who rarely left his home. At first glance it is difficult to imagine that these two great artists of the early revival had something to say to each other. Art Mantegna painfully and leisurely - his exhausted, quasi-sculptural forms can look as if they are knocked out of slate, Bellini is serene, bathes in the cool but transporting light that symbolizes divine grace.
Indeed, two artists came to personify the opposite principles: Mantegna belongs to the central Italian tradition, which would continue to produce Michelangelo, Leonardo and Raphael, artists who portrayed the contours of the human body through rigorous drawing. On the other hand, Bellini was the father of a more sensual Venetian tradition, which reached its apotheosis thanks to his disciples Titian and Giorgione.
But there is something that unites them, in addition to the fact that Mantegna and Bellini had each other sons-in-law.
Two men lived at a time when the "modern" concept of the artist was still inconclusive, the medieval role of the anonymous master artist gave way to self-awareness. They constantly tried to look at each other with a sense of competition.
Born about 1431, Mantegna, "came from nothing", he began as a shepherd, but, later, his growth as an artist did not stop. Immersed in classical culture from an early age by his teacher, antiquarian and artist Francesco Squarcheon, he studied ancient Roman architecture and took part in archaeological excavations. In his early works, such as the frescoes of the life of St. James in the church of Eremitani in Padua (sadly destroyed during the Second World War), he played with perspective and extreme perspectives. Repeatedly he faced accusations that his rigid forms resembled a painted sculpture, and not a painted reality. In the same he blamed himself and Skvarcheone, with whom Mantegna later fell into a quarrel.
Bellini was more comfortable in his social status. As a citizen of Venice, second only to the aristocracy and the offspring of the city’s leading art dynasty, he was part of a system in which family relations vied with lucrative orders from the state and the powerful religious fraternities of Venice. While his father Jacopo and Gentile’s older brother both succeeded in carrying out city orders (Gentile’s paintings remain some of the most popular images of Venice), Bellini was destined to overcome the provincial and essentially medieval traditions of Venice. His "sacred conversations", for example - the images of the Virgin with the saints, are found throughout the city. They combine a characteristic Venetian sense of color with a new, monumental art.
The two men actually met after Jacopo Bellini learned about the growing glory of Mantegna and sought him out with the intention of marrying his daughter - sister Giovanni - Nicolosia. The marriage was then primarily a business deal. Yakopo had two brilliant son-artist. The third, perhaps even more talent Mantegna would give the family studio a formidable force.
The mood of tragic exaltation in the Mantegna version, aggravated by the swirling, sharp forms of the rocky landscape on which Christ kneels before the holy spirit, is transferred to Bellini’s painting, although the characters of Bellini more naturally interact with the landscape.
This ability of Bellini to write figures that look as if they existed in real landscapes, perhaps, is his greatest contribution to art. He also achieved a richer and more realistic sense of light and color: in his paintings the pink sky is reflected in the orange sand around the feet of Christ.
While Bellini established himself as a great teacher of Venetian art, Mantegna took the position of a court painter in the family of Gonzaga, the Dukes of Mantua. Nevertheless, he seemed to be looking back at what his brother-in-law was doing in Venice: Mantegna’s later works are filled with lightwork and Bellini-style landscapes, such as "Minerva, who expelled vices from the Garden of Virtue" (1500-2), in which the bizarre Mythological action takes place in a reliable, temperate, northern Italian landscape, with moist grass and a cool, rather cloudy sky.
Mantegna and Bellini are artists who exist beyond the reach of a biography too far from history. However, looking at the art of each of them, we feel that we can understand them.
But the main question concerning Mantegna and Bellini, as well as all artists of this period, is whether they are great in themselves or they are precursors of geniuses of the next century. Even if someone does not like the work of Michelangelo and Leonardo, there is no doubt that the Sistine Chapel and Mona Lisa represent the great climax of art, while artists who lived before, perhaps, did nothing for it.
This opinion was predominant for about 500 years. But now we need to shake up our ideas about the Renaissance. Mantegna and Bellini are among the greatest European artists. They do not deserve to be considered precursors. Their work is worthy of attention in itself.